Dear Harriette: I've known this guy for three years. He's 24. I just turned 22. I love him a lot. But sometimes he gives me mixed signals. One minute he wants to be around me, the next minute he acts funny.

I've done everything to help him and make him happy, and want me. I always do stuff for him, but he's never done anything for me.

For instance, my birthday just passed. I invited him and a few friends to go bowling. He came, but I ended up paying for him to bowl.

My twin sister and I were collecting money from people to pay for their shoes and for the game. When it came time for him to pay he said he thought I got him ? meaning he expected me to pay for him. He should have paid for me. He never once bought me anything.

We were both born in the same month. I put $100 in his account for his birthday and he said it didn't help him that much for his birthday.

He works but is always broke. He has never come through for me. I never received anything for my birthday. When I ask him for something he claims he doesn't have the money.

He likes a strong woman who can do things for herself and likes to speak her mind, but when I do he gets mad and won't talk to me for days or weeks. I'm so confused.

He means a lot to me, but what should I do? Should I give up on him?

? Kay, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Kay: Pretend for a moment the story you are telling is about someone else's life. I'm sure you would tell a friend in this situation to run as fast as you can in the other direction.

Your "boyfriend" is using you. Even if he were well-meaning, your desperation would be a turn off. To have a healthy relationship you must first become strong and healthy within yourself. Right now you are too needy.

Choose to be in your own company and with people who honestly love and support you. Let your next boyfriend be someone who wants you to be happy and who is willing to go out of his way on your behalf.

Dear Harriette: I travel on public transportation and in the morning sometimes I see women applying makeup on the subway train or on the bus.

I've known it to be appropriate to apply lipstick in public, but should you really put on a full face?

? Rhonda, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Rhonda: What happened to taking care of personal hygiene before you leave home? Sure, it's OK to apply a bit of lipstick on the train, but I recommend the rest be done in private.

There's a long list of things you shouldn't do on the subway ? everything from applying makeup to eating a full meal or talking too loud!

Send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o United Feature Syndicate, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016.

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